Equinox races bring light to the Beshoff Motors Autumn League

22 September 2019
Equinox races bring light to the Beshoff Motors Autumn League
With a week of ominous forecasts leading up the second Saturday of the Beshoff Motors sponsored Autumn League series at Howth YC, and the Friday night forecasts still going with south-easterlies of 14 – 28 knots, ‘will there be racing?’ was the big concern for competitors and the race committee.  However, the 28 knots proved unduly pessimistic and on leaving the harbour the fleets found 15 to 18 knots, beautiful warm sunshine and a ‘delicately’ rolling sea, the sea state still being enough to upset a few of the more sensitive stomachs.
After a long ‘round the cans’ race on the first day, the plan for Saturday was two Windward Leewards.  The numbers for the J80 Class were boosted by boats visiting to compete in the Class’s National Championships, which were being competed for over both Saturday and Sunday, counting  the two Autumn League races from the first day with a further three on the second day.
The inshore and offshore courses were quickly set up by the ever-efficient race management, forcing the skippers to a decision on the major quandary of the day - believe the forecasts and reduce sail or rig for the conditions at the start.  The more cautious reduced sail and possibly regretted it as their expected increase in wind speed turned out to be an ease.  Nonetheless there was still enough oomph in the breeze to leave Fusion (Hughes / Power) without their rig and heading back to the harbour, fortunately under their own power.
On the offshore course for the larger boats, Class 1 is being dominated by the visiting Rockabill 6 (P. O’Higgins) and the two HYC based J109s, Outrajeous (Colwell / Murphy) and Storm (P Kelly).  Outrajeous and Storm each took a win on IRC while, on ECHO, Rockabill 6 and Storm got the glory.  This leaves Storm leading on IRC while Rockabill 6 has top spot on ECHO.
The two Checkmates, XVIII (N Biggs) and XV (D Cullen) continue to dominate Class 2 on IRC, each taking a win to leave Checkmate XVIII leading overall.  On ECHO, the X302 Maximus (P.Kyne) is leading overall despite Checkmate XV taking the win in Race 2 and Xebec (Bourke, McGirr and Ball) getting first in Race 3.
In White Sails Class 4, Tiger (S Harris) is the boat to catch in IRC with a score to date of 1, 2, 1, Toughnut (D. Skehan) spoiling Tiger’s record by taking victory in Race 2.  Raging Bull (M. Davis) leads on ECHO although the race winners on the day were Changeling (K. Jameson) and Trinculo (M. Fleming).  In Class 5 IRC, Demelza (Laudan/Ennis) returned from a DNC in Race 1 with two wins, although these were not enough to take the overall lead away from Jokers Wild (G Knaggs).  Class 5 ECHO has a 15 boat entry so race wins are hard to come by.  Mary Ellen (O’Byrne/ Carty/ Finucane) and Jokers Wild shared the race wins but Blues Xtra (M. Carroll) retains the series lead.
On the inshore course, Cruisers 3 is first class to start.  Alliance (V Gaffney) is leading on IRC with the help of a win in Race 2 while Viking (Patterson / Darmody) got the victory in Race 3.  On ECHO, Viking found the conditions in both races to their liking and added two ECHO victories to their IRC win to give them the overall lead on ECHO.
The 16 boat Puppeteer 22 fleet have bragging rights as the largest Class in the event.  Yellow Peril (Murphy / 'Yellow Peril' takes advantage of a big pin-end bias at the start or race 1Costello) recovered from their 6th place on scratch in Race 1 to take both wins and share the overall lead with Trick or Treat (Pearson/ Blay).  On handicap, Flycatcher (M Dunne) and the ever competitive Cyprian Feeley in Cloud 9 each took a first place but it is Ghosty Ned (D. Harkin) who leads overall.
The Squib fleet was boosted by Rob Marshall in Slipstream, visiting from Killyleagh SC, for his first outing of the series and he immediately found his groove to win Race 2.  However, O’Leary (S Sheahan) came back to add Race 3 to their win in Race 1 and establish themselves as overall leader on scratch.  Tears In Heaven (D Bothwell) and Tais (E Mulvihill), a newcomer to the HYC fleet, each took a win on handicap to leave Tears in Heaven as the overall leader.
The Howth 17s had very close racing.  On scratch, Isobel (B and C Turvey) won Race 2 while Gladys (Byrne/ Ferris/ Heydon) won Race 3.  Rita (Lynch/ Curley) and Isobel now tie for the lead on scratch.  Zaida (T Houlihan) won both races on handicap and is the series leader.
The J/80 Class were racing in both the Autumn League and, with additional competitors, their Nationals.  The Autumn League wins on scratch were taken by Mojo (P. O’Neill) and Jammy (D. O’Grady) to leave Jammy with the overall lead.  Mojo and Jam Jar (Watson / Cagney) each took a win on handicap but the overall lead is held by Red Cloud (N Reilly) with the help of second place finishes in both Races 2 and 3.
Sailors and enthusiastic followers of the event should be advised that some issues with sets of the results mean that they will need to be adjusted during the week.
(Top photo: Howth 17 'Sheila' racing downwind with David Mulligan at the helm)